China Cuts Coal Electricity From 68.5% to 57.7% Over 7 Years

China’s energy improvements are hugely important for the world. China has the highest share of global energy usage. China is the main global source of energy pollution.

In 2019, China coal consumption was 57.7% of total energy consumption, a decrease of 10.8 percentage points from 2012 (68.5%). Clean energy (natural gas, hydropower, nuclear power and wind power) accounted for 23.4% of total energy consumption, an increase of 8.9 percentage points over 2012. Non-fossil energy accounted for 15.3% of total energy consumption, up 5.6 percentage points against 2012. It says China has reached its target of raising the share of non-fossil energy to 15% of total energy consumption by 2020.

China’s electricity supply capacity has risen to a cumulative installed capacity of 2.01 billion kW in 2019, up 75% since 2012, with electricity output up 50% to 7.5 trillion kWh. Renewable energy sources have expanded rapidly, with cumulative installed capacities of hydropower, wind power, and solar photovoltaic power each ranking top in the world, the document says. As of the end of 2019, the total installed capacity of nuclear power plants under construction and in operation reached 65.93 million kW, the second largest in the world.

Since 2010, China has invested about USD818 billion in renewable energy generation, accounting for 30% of global total investment over the same period.

The full text of China’s Energy in China’s New Era is here. It was issued by the State Council.

Energy in China’s New Era, The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China December 2020

Preliminary calculations show that China’s primary energy production in 2019 reached 3.97 billion tons of standard coal, making it the world’s largest energy producer.

Coal remains the basic energy source. Since 2012, the annual production of raw coal has ranged between 3.41 and 3.97 billion tons. Crude oil production remains stable. Since 2012, the annual production of crude oil has ranged between 190 and 210 million tons. The production of natural gas has increased notably, from 110.6 billion cu m in 2012 to 176.2 billion cubic meters in 2019. China’s electricity supply capacity has risen to a cumulative installed capacity of 2.01 billion kW in 2019, up 75 percent since 2012, and an electricity output of 7.5 trillion kWh, up 50 percent. Renewable energy resources have expanded rapidly, with cumulative installed capacities of hydropower, wind power, and solar photovoltaic (PV) power each ranking top in the world. As of the end of 2019, the total installed capacity of nuclear power plants under construction and in operation reached 65.93 million kW, the second largest in the world.

China has built natural gas trunk lines measuring over 87,000 km, oil trunk lines totaling 55,000 km, and 302,000 km of electricity transmission lines of 330 kv or more.

By 2019, carbon emission intensity in China had decreased by 48.1 percent compared with 2005, which exceeded the target of reducing carbon emission intensity by 40 to 45 percent between 2005 and 2020.

As of the end of 2019, clean heating in northern China covered a floor space of 11.6 billion sq meters, an increase of 5.1 billion sq meters over 2016.

China Claims Cleaner Coal

SOURCES – Energy in China’s New Era, The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China December 2020, World Nuclear News
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

25 thoughts on “China Cuts Coal Electricity From 68.5% to 57.7% Over 7 Years”

  1. Interesting and impressive, but also a bit misleading: China's coal consumption hasn't declined, it is more or les stable or even still growing a little.
    The clue is in "China’s electricity supply capacity has risen to a cumulative installed capacity of 2.01 billion kW in 2019, up 75% since 2012, with electricity output up 50% to 7.5 trillion kWh."
    Total production and consumption have grown enormously, and within that growth, other energy sources have grown (much) faster than coal, in particular hydro and natgas.
    But coal power generation is still so huge that it will take many years to overtake, let alone replace.
    In another recent post (here on NBF) I read that China will still grow its CO2 emissions at least until 2030-2035, before it levels off and then starts declining.
    Not that I blame the Chinese too much for this, after all we in the West have been doing the same for many years.
    But Earth atmospheric CO2 level will reach or surpass 420 ppm early next spring (after northern hemisphere winter), and is rising by 3 ppm per year. Therefore, in 2030 the atmosphere will reach a CO2 level of at least 450 ppm. Not including other GHG, in particular methane, of which the total greenhouse effect is already 70-80 ppm CO2 *equivalent*, reaching some 100-150 ppm CO2 equivalent in 2030.
    So, in 2030 total greenhouse effect of the atmosphere will be 550-600 ppm CO2 equivalent. And still rising. Not including a possible sudden methane burst from the thawing (sub-sea) permafrost.

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  2. So, China reduced coal's share, but grew the overall electricity production pie, so how many fewer tons of CO2 did China net out of this?

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  3. Your own national stats about sea level show 22cm in 125 years. Let's call it 2mm a year.
    https://www.clo.nl/en/indicators/en022909-sea-level-dutch-coast-and-worldwide

    The second is "China, is quickly trying to mitigate its contribution to this problem."

    Its keeping its (absolute) coal generation fairly constant (not reducing) while expanding other generation, and its all set to fund coal generation in Africa because the West won't.
    https://www.npr.org/2019/04/29/716347646/why-is-china-placing-a-global-bet-on-coal

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  4. For Beijing, most (all?) of the coal electrical energy production has been moved to Inner Mongolia. They have not yet done the same for other large cities: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuoketuo_Power_Station

    For air quality, that is a reasonable solution. But obviously that achieves nothing for global warming or mercury toxification of the oceans.

    But when they are heating their homes, I don't think they are using electrical power to do that. So in winter, air quality will still be poor. I don't know what the balance is in cooking, combustion vs electrical, so, that could be a contributor to air pollution as well.

    Pollution from vehicles is, of course, another major contributor to poor air quality.

    If they cleaned up the vehicles and they used heat pumps in the homes for heating and water heating or hot water from nuclear to do these, they could have decent air quality.

    These are not cheap fixes mostly. All very large cities have these issues yet to resolve fully.

    The most strait forward is to have maybe 70% nuclear power, and 30% renewable, 80% electric road vehicles, 20% natural gas vehicles, 100% electric yard maintenance tools, 100% heat pump cooling and heating, 100% heat pump water heaters, and some sort of clean burning energy dense biofuel for jets/ships. Smaller slower aircraft can probably go electric in the future.

    Some things are very difficult to do anything about. Construction equipment is often used for 50+ years, and nearly all of that is Diesel.

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  5. You might want to aim for a more apples-to-apples comparison:

    Typical US household is 2.5 persons, averaging ~11000kWhr/household per year, or 4400kWhr/yr per person.

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  6. The way I hear it, Xi is trying to teach Australia a lesson by cutting imports, not the other way around. I think the lesson is supposed to be "Xi is willing to cut off his own people's noses to save Xi's face."

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  7. Agreed natural gas is not clean. Especially with methane leaks. It ends up being very close to coal on glands warming gases, natural gas is better on particulate emissions and other air and water pollution

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  8. Also the world is heating up by as much as 20-30 degrees every morning!

    It then cools down by 20-30 degrees every evening, but still…
    Project that out a couple months and the whole world will be molten lava.

    Thanks George W. Bush, for driving all those SUV's and killing all those polar bears.
    He's such a jerk.

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  9. Yes, by angering Australia. Australia provides most of the coal exports to China.

    The recent cuts to Australian coal have been so severe that China refuses to allow people to heat their homes in the winter unless they're literally freezing.

    I'm sure Xi will tout this as a "great success in de-carbonizing" but in reality they just got cut off from their supplier.

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  10. 733 kWh/yr per person is still crazy low.

    Typical US household is more like 1,000 kWh/mo.

    Urbanization definitely reduces electricity consumption.

    Also entertaining to note that coal consumption for electricity isn't actually declining. Everything else is increasing, so coal share is declining.

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  11. Natural gas is not "clean energy" as stated in the article. It still emits CO2, although less particulates and ash than coal.

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  12. As I live in the Netherlands, I care much about climate change. It's very realistic that we can't raise our dykes at some point because it would simply be too expensive.

    That would mean giving up cities to the sea, resulting in incredible loss of value.

    Same goes for many other cities in the world.

    Next to that, certain parts of the world will have a highly heated climate, resulting in 'unliveable' warm places (unliveable means that it's unsafe due to heat to be outside on more than 180 days per year).

    Lastly, many regions will have very long drauths resulting in water and food shortages.

    These things will cause massive migration.

    This will be much much larger than migration we're currently experiencing in Europe, and this has already resulted in big stress among countries, brexit, etc.
    Such migrations will lead to even bigger international stresses.

    So: yes, I'm interested and happy in how one of the biggest polluters, China, is quickly trying to mitigate its contribution to this problem.

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  13. Sea not rising? I went to the sea side recently and the sea was rising by a couple of metres every couple of seconds!
    It was then going back down again a second later, but what if it stopped? Did you think about that?

    Reply
  14. Earth's ice imbalance
    doi: 10.5194/tc-2020-232
    "…Earth lost 28 trillion tonnes of ice between 1994 and 2017…"

    "upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/92/NASA-Satellite-sea-level-rise-observations-1993-Nov-2018.jpg/660px-NASA-Satellite-sea-level-rise-observations-1993-Nov-2018.jpg"

    USA is still #1
    "ourworldindata.org/uploads/2019/10/Cumulative-CO2-treemap-768×640.png"

    Reply
  15. As I live in the Netherlands, I care much about climate change. It's very realistic that we can't raise our dykes at some point because it would simply be too expensive.

    That would mean giving up cities to the sea, resulting in incredible loss of value.

    Same goes for many other cities in the world.

    Next to that, certain parts of the world will have a highly heated climate, resulting in 'unliveable' warm places (unliveable means that it's unsafe due to heat to be outside on more than 180 days per year).

    Lastly, many regions will have very long drauths resulting in water and food shortages.

    These things will cause massive migration.

    This will be much much larger than migration we're currently experiencing in Europe, and this has already resulted in big stress among countries, brexit, etc.
    Such migrations will lead to even bigger international stresses.

    So: yes, I'm interested and happy in how one of the biggest polluters, China, is quickly trying to mitigate its contribution to this problem.

    Reply

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